Allergy sufferers already have a lot to deal with.
While the rest of us can enjoy springtime blooms and autumn hay rides, a change in seasons means itchy eyes, sneezing, stuffed noses, and sinus headaches for those with seasonal allergies.
And did you know on top of all that, allergies can affect teeth as well?
Here are the three main ways.
Allergy sufferers who get stuffy noses have to rely more heavily on mouth breathing. Mouth breathing dries out our mouths because air is constantly moving in and out. Certain oral medications and inhalers used to treat allergy symptoms may also cause a dry mouth.
Having a dry mouth can be a major problem when it comes to our dental health — saliva is a key component in the prevention of tooth decay. It swishes away bacteria and debris, neutralizes the pH in our mouth, and remineralizes teeth to keep them strong.
If your seasonal allergies get bad for only a couple weeks a year, you’re probably fine. But if you suffer from them on a more long-term basis, it’s best to discuss any dry mouth you experience with your dentist.
Another unwanted side effect of mouth breathing due to allergies is malocclusion — a fancy word for misaligned teeth. To talk and chew properly and to prevent jaw pain, you need to have a jaw that is aligned well when you bite down.
For young kids, who are still growing, mouth breathing can lead to a misshaped palate, causing teeth to grow in at different angles.
While misaligned teeth are not a serious health condition, an orthodontist may need to correct it down the road.
Some patients report toothaches — mostly around the upper molars — that seem to coincide with their allergies. Sinus pressure builds to the point of your maxillary sinuses pushing down on the roots of those upper molars, creating discomfort.
If you take an antihistamine and your tooth pain seems to go away, then your toothache is likely just a sinus problem. If your tooth pain doesn’t go away as your allergies ease up, then a trip to your dentist is in order.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, stay vigilant and knowledgeable about your dental health. Brush and floss on the daily and keep up with your routine dental visits.
If you are unsure how your specific seasonal allergies or medications are affecting your oral health, your dental team can help! Breathe easy, friends.